Nothing Lost, Something Gained? Impact of a Universal Social-Emotional Learning Program on Future State Test Performance

Susan Crandall Hart, James Clyde DiPerna, Pui Wa Lei, Weiyi Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Although the promise of universal social-emotional learning (SEL) programs enhancing student academic outcomes has captured public attention, there has been limited research regarding such programs’ impact on students’ state test scores. We used multilevel modeling of follow-up data from a multiyear, multisite cluster-randomized efficacy trial to investigate the impact of a brief universal SEL program on students’ subsequent state test performance. Although somewhat smaller in magnitude than those reported in previous SEL meta-analyses (e.g., Durlak et al., 2011), observed effect sizes generally were positive and consistent with other studies employing similar designs (i.e., randomized trial, state test outcome, baseline academic covariate). These findings may assuage concerns about the program negatively impacting state test scores due to lost instructional time; however, they also temper expectations about large academic gains resulting from its implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Researcher
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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